author photo

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I lived in Cuba my entire life until March 30, 2013. I am currently a resident in the city of Miami along with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

The Urgent Need to Defend Male Rights in Cuba

April 22, 2014 | Print Print |

Yenisel Rodriguez Perez

Havana building from below. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — The defense of male rights stems from the fact gender studies failed to produce a universal discourse. It was to be expected that the struggle for gender equality should fail to avoid the traps of polarization and self-aggrandizement, particularly when a complex and profound reading of male-female relations, the relationship between men and women, was required.

Vengefulness and a craving for power are increasingly common among the champions of feminism, such that the struggle for female emancipation begins to engender its own demons: the establishment of reverse prejudices about the masculine and men, polarization instead of integration, power over the masculine instead of collaboration between men and women.

Male studies function as a means of demanding male rights and as a counterweight to feminism in the struggle for gender equality at both the local and global levels, where conflicts and conflicting interests still prevail. Refusing to acknowledge this is another form of veiled opportunism. The demands of minorities and underprivileged social groups must also be met with ethical and socio-political vigilance.

In Cuba, the issue has even greater implications, as the country is seeing a feminist activism characterized by unanimity and voluntarism. For over 50 years, the defense of women’s rights on the island has constituted a fetishistic indicator of one’s revolutionary character and of obedience to the regime, something which has accentuated polarization and made a caricature of gender equality. It is the legacy of authoritarianism that Cuba’s new feminist organizations have inherited.

One case in point is the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), an institution which, despite impelling a sincere and committed activism which contrasts with the bureaucratized efforts of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), is distorted by the unassailable prerogatives that NGOs and Cuban institutions secure when they receive support from the regime in order to improve its international reputation.

As a result of this, we are shown dozens of spots and television programs that tolerate and encourage female violence against men and which ridicule male characters and engage in many other discriminatory practices as a means of raising awareness regarding female rights.

Because of this, any demand for male rights in Cuba, in addition to meeting with condemnation from feminists, prompts attacks from the authoritarian regime, which interprets any questioning of the polarization it has brought about in gender relations as political dissidence.

In Cuba, thus, we see that male studies have been left out of the social agenda, which has been co-opted by pro-feminist organizations which, like CENESEX, deploy these as an appendage and tool of feminist affirmation, sweeping the question of male rights in Cuba under the carpet.

It is therefore increasingly urgent for contemporary Cuban society to call for the vindication of male identity and its legitimate values, and to join international efforts calling for respect towards and greater awareness of male rights, namely to:

1. Establish World Men’s Day globally.
2. Create a “Hospital for Men.”
3. Eradicate materials and movements (and all related portrayals and messages) with anti-male content around the country.
4. Sanction women – legally and through campaigns and programs – who practice physical and psychological violence against men.
5. Sanction women – legally and through campaigns and programs – who sexually harass men and seduce, provoke or use them, taking advantage of their “charms.”
6. Revise the constitution and laws related to the juridical concept of custody rights, so as to offer fathers equal treatment before the law.
7. Establish a nationwide, obligatory medical or social service for women, so as to make them truly equal to men (obliging them to undergo military training at a certain age, for instance, as men are required to do in Cuba).
8. Create institutions that defend and promote male rights, in order to ensure the integrity, protection, dignity and image of men, which has been slated by feminist propaganda and interests.


What's your opinion?

  • ac

    Well, I feel your pain on this issue, but rest assured that if you think thats bad, it is even worse overseas. And since this is a controversial topic, let me begin by stating my position on this matter: I have a strong belief that gender discrimination is immoral and should be illegal. People from any gender (transgenders included) should have the exact same rights and privileges and should not be discriminated in any way.

    That out of the way, I find the “new wave” of feminism to be extremely infuriating and their position not only idiotic but very close to what you would expect from a patient in the lunatic bin. All that talk about that BS about the “patriarchy” and treating men as uncaught rapists is simply insulting, to the point where I don’t think that calling them “feminazis” is an exaggeration anymore.

    Add all the moronic stunt they have been playing lately like banning words (like the “ban bossy” campaign) and all self inflicting damage they are doing to themselves, like lessening the meaning of rape to the point that changing your mind the next day is roughly equivalent to violent rape (not to mention the absolute denial of any trace of self responsibility in things like getting drunk, having sex then crying wolf). But I digress, is distasteful to ask for self responsibility these days because that is “blaming the victim” and everyone knows the only cause is the “rape culture” imposed by the “patriarchy”.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bj-gallagher/ban-bossy-campaign-is-mis_b_5015499.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-theres-a-raging-debate-over-rape-culture/article17726889/

    They simply miss the point that we undoubtedly a dimorphic species with clear distinction between genres. And even within the same genre, we are not all equal, not by a long shot. The bottom line is that men are inherently better for some tasks with women are better at others, as statistics show, but ultimately is about the individual you are evaluating and genre, race, ethnicity or religion won’t make a difference.

    So my advise to all sensible feminists out there: cut the crap, stop playing victims and get a hold of your own destiny. Yes, you may get a lower pay for the same position than a man, but that doesn’t automatically mean you deserve the same, if you do, by all means fight for your rights. Just don’t complain to people who can’t get an unbiased depiction of your specific circumstances, that will not do you any good.

    Also, remember that for every good thing about the “patriarchy” there is also a downside: as a genre YOU are underrepresented in the prison population, you usually get a more lenient punishment for the same crimes than your male counterparts, you are heavily underrepresented amongst the bottom of the society (homeless) and if things have not changed in Cuba since my last visit, you don’t waste two years of your life in the mandatory military service and I don’t see you complaining about any of that.

    Not to mention all that “positive discrimination” that you are “victim” of and it doesn’t seem to bother you at all. If you have real issues, bring them to the table and I’ll fight at your side but get ready to get your position challenged. If that hurts your feelings, by any means, build an echo chamber around you like every special interest group do, but keep off my lawn.

  • John Goodrich

    I would have thought this was a joke until I read it in its entirety.
    Women have been subjected to the totalitarianism of the nuclear family structure for the entirety of humanity’s existence and especially so under capitalism .
    It is only with our gains in knowledge and morality lately that this has been recognized and efforts made to bring more equality to the sexes.
    Any man with sufficient self-confidence and morality need not fear this equality .
    FYI- Feminazi is a term that originated with the moronic and socially regressive right wing radio talk shows and this sadly indicates the type of sources for your own regressive thinking.
    You’d probably be much happier in Afghanistan where you can still kill your wife or any woman you deem too pushy.
    You’ve got a lot of civilizing to do.

    • ac

      I don’t care were the term originated, the fact is that *SOME* activists get way too far on their positions to the point were is simply not possible to reason with them anymore. And WTH are you smoking? Afghanistan? How do you get from an argument of equality to no rights at all?

      As I EXPLICITLY stated in my post, I’m all for gender equality and BECAUSE of that I cannot condone a genre trying to impose restrictions to the freedom of expression of everyone else because it hurts their feelings. And I did not make that statement in a vacuum, I explicit;y mentioned the “ban bossy” campaign as an example of the irrational position some of them represent. FYI, “Bossy” is a word with a specific meaning and is not used explicitly to target women in particular. Trying to ban a word because it *may* hurt their feelings is simply stupid.

      The same goes for other of their “modern” positions like in the case of rape. We all agree that non consensual sex is rape, but everyone is innocent until proven guilty and the word of the woman alone should not and cannot be enough evidence for a conviction in a court of law, and even if the men is acquitted in court, the mere suspicion of rape is enough to destroy his life.

      Same in the case of alcohol and sex. Yes, SOME predators get women senseless drunk THEN have sex with her but that does not mean that you need a breath analyzer and two witness to have sex with a woman because she *may* change her mind the next day and decide that she wasn’t in her own faculties when she consented after two beers. And as with most issues in real life, this is not black and white and what is missing in the current trends on this issue is the personal responsibility of the victim.

      Also, I’m neither a rapist nor a sex predator (actually I consider those the scum of the earth and I’m more than happy to lock them in jail and throw away the key) and I don’t like to be treated like one simply because I have XY chromosomes and stuff hanging from my crotch. Any person that reserves to her or himself the right to call me that shielded in some obscure inequality amongst genders and real or perceived historical oppression is an idiot in my book.

      In short, get out of your cave and spend some time researching the current state of the feminist movement, their current goals and positions THEN comment.

      Also, it DOES help a little bit to read a post before replying to it, specially if you plan to use personal attacks and strawman arguments in the name of civilization. I know that civilization has been synonym of hypocrisy and double standards for a while, but there is no need to exaggerate.

      • John Goodrich

        To repeat: ” feminazi” is a term I’ve heard used only on the moron right talk shows.
        No one uses that term outside of those ultra-right circles.
        unless they are poking fun at the moron right.
        Your choice of terminology marks your sources and your thinking .
        FYI: I have been involved in the female liberation struggle for well over 40 years , have friends that are still involved actively , subscribe to several left publications and keep righ.t up to date with what’s going on , so I am not speaking from ignorance as you alleged.
        I’m glad to hear you’re not a rapist .
        It’s a start .
        Maybe someday you’ll get to actually like women.

        • ac

          Lol, quoting a Boor(stin): the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. And in your case there is not even a pretense of illusion, you ignored every single argument I posted and went straight for a nebulous definition of feminism.

          FYI (since you obviously did not read my original response) I support feminism in the sense that I do support right equality amongst all genders, my point is that “modern” feminism has fallen to the influence of extremist positions that I cannot longer support.

          Now, can you stop crapping on the chessboard and either give me your opinion about ANY of the specific points I made, or at least NAME a single issue where women in Cuba have LESS rights than men?

  • Margaret Randall

    At first I thought this might be satire. But no. I’m all for all points of view being expressed. But this piece is just plain stupid.